Nov 7, 2009

A RIF'd DC Teacher Issues A Challenge


Dear DCPS Employees Past and Present, Parents, Guardians, Students and DC Community:

I am writing this letter to issue a challenge to us all. We as a system are under fire. For those of you that are still in the classroom please do not be lulled into a false sense of security. This school system is under attack and teachers are on the front lines.

In the past few weeks it has become clear that the Washington Teachers Union is either unwilling or unable to protect and successfully defend us, so we must do it ourselves. I and some of my other friends have been on a letter writing campaign and have sent letters to everyone from the DC City Council to President Barack Obama. My focus right now is Oprah Winfrey. It may sound silly but understand that Ms. Winfrey profiled Michelle Rhee as one of the most powerful women in America and is planning on having her on the show.  I think that it is important that we get our side of the story to her. Michelle Rhee has been allowed to control the press for far too long. (Contact Oprah's website by clicking this Link . Scroll down and click contact us ). 

I have sent letters to Oprah but if we flood her website she will be forced to at least investigate what is going on. It only takes a few minutes to go to her website and click on “contact us” and send an email. We all have a story now it is time to tell that story. From former Principals, to teachers, to custodians, to office staff, and to the students, it is time that we go global with our story. Talking on the blog is great but we are preaching to the choir.

I also encourage you to contact Senator Daniel Akaka who is the Chairman on Oversight of Government Management. Click on Senator Akaka's name above and it will take you directly to his website. You can also write Senator Akaka c/0 141 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, telephone: 202-2246361 or via fax: 202-224-2126.

I have friends that are teachers all over the country and believe me they are watching what is going on in DC and if Michelle Rhee wins here it will spell trouble for all educators across the country.   We cannot continue to sit back and wait for others to save us we must save ourselves.  Please feel free to forward this letter to all friends in DCPS past and present. 


A RIF'd DC Teacher Fighting For Truth

Other people that we can email, just click on the links below:

Senator Daniel Akaka , Subcommitte on Oversight of Government Management

Senator George V. Voinovich, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Oversight Management

DC City Council 

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton 

Md. State Senator Barbara Mikulski 

Va. State Senator Jim Webb

Toy Joyner, Russ Parr, CNN, The View,  etc.             

Everyone has a website and a “CONTACT US” button on that website, let’s use it. 

Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this campaign. The principals, assistant principals and other administrators will join in with you. This charade has to stop. There is no doubt that DCPS needs to reform but it needs to be done with decency and in an orderly fashion. I believe we need to come up with a standard message and stay on message.

I also encourage everyone to file EEOC complaints. Until the federal government recognizes what is going on and steps in, we are all going to suffer. The DC Courts tend to rule in Fenty's and his pals favor so when cases go to these cours, all affected parties MUST have EEOC complaints to have a second recourse.

Thank you to the teacher who posted the challenge. That speaks to the intelligence and level of caring that is present in DCPS among many employees. Michelle Rhee might not want "certain employees" but she DAMN WELL has to go through the process as it is legally mandated for all unions. We have to stand up and the time is NOW. I accept your challenge and will pass it on.

Anonymous said...

I would also add that we contact the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as well. He would not stand for obvious racial and age bias.

Contact information:

The Nation of Islam National Center
7351 South Stony Island Ave. Chicago, IL. 60649
(773) - 324-6000

The Wash. Teacher said...

Count me in too. I accept this challenge from the RIF'd teacher and have already passed it on.

I hope that DC parents will join us.

In solidarity,

Glenn Watson said...

I would also add that we contact the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as well. >>>

What a great idea. With him on your side White people in DC can be assured justice is on your side.

While your at all the teachers should wound themselves in the foot.

Cynthia Hill, Ballou RIF'ed Teacher said...

Comment from Cynthia Hill who attended the hearing:

The Union lost the argument on 2 points. Lee Jackson refused to call the firings a RIF, because RIFs are not covered by the Union Contract signed in 2004 by George Parker. He instead wanted to refer to the firings as a massive discharge, which would be covered by the Union Contract. The Judge did not agree.

Secondly, the Judge gave him an opportunity to call the discharges a RIF and defend the case on that basis. He refused to do so and continued to argue over the definitions of a RIF versus a massive discharge. At the end the Judge was yelling at him. This was the worst closing argument I have ever witnessed.

The last agreement they had was over the recourse of teachers. The Judge said teachers could not file a grievance because the union contract did not have language in it to protect the workers from a RIF as the exhibit Lee presented. Lee disagreed. They both agreed that teachers could file an appeal with OEA. Please let the teachers know that they must attack the illegal process of the RIF using the DC Code that governed the RIF.

The Judge also stated there were no grounds for an appeal by WTU.

It’s sad that the union could not see pass the union contract. From the beginning the Judge told them that they were there to prove the legality of the injunction. This meant they had to attack the process of the RIF and this could have easily been done with the DC Code. The WTU should have gotten off their buts and gathered evidence and there was plenty received from members. They could have introduced this evidence as exhibits that the RIF violated the rules set forth by the DC Government.

Anonymous said...

How do we get "out of the union?" I know we still have to pay the a majority of the dues but if we all quit... that $20 a person will make a difference! We can join an alternative union... where we will have some representation! Come on people...

Anonymous said...

My only recommendation for the letter-writing campaign is directed to the participants: PLEASE HAVE SOMEONE PROOFREAD YOUR SUBMISSION. Some of the postings on this blog are so horribly written (i.e., poor grammar, improper punctuation, etc.) that you would do yourself--or the cause--no favors (and even undermine the effort) by submitting such an error-laden appeal.

I'm with you in spirit and will be submitting a letter myself.

In solidarity . . .

Sharon B. said...

This campaign is GREAT!!!! I know that it may be time consuming but; Let's all get on board!!!! I have some information that someone needs to hear. Being a special education teacher, I now have the proof that says not only are regular education teachers TEACHING the TEST, but so are special education teachers. There is NO WAY that students who have been "identified" as having severe learning disabilities through psychological assessments and various other assessments should be scoring on the DC-BAS or DC-CAS in the proficient/advanced range WITHOUT, again, WITHOUT teachers giving the answers. I can blow both teachers, and administrators out of the water with what I have. Some body tell me what to do with this information. If it's going on in one place, it's going on ALL OVER THE CITY!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow Sharon that is some powerful information. I wish I knew what to tell you what to do with it. But some suggestions would be the State's Attorney, news outlets, state board, department of education. I know it seems that all these people are against us but if you have real data that backs this up someone has to investigate.

Anonymous said...

Glenn Watson, let me educate you. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has helped people all over the world without respect to race, color or creed. With all due respect, I'm white and I agree with contacting him. Everyone who can help needs to be contacted. Unlike Rhee's camp, everyone who wants genuine reform is not of the same "homogenous" school of thought.

Anonymous said...

Sharon B., please get my contact information from Candi so we can talk -- I will send her a message. I think a collaboration on our part would be very fruitful!! I have a lot of information on the cheating as well. Some people even take the test booklets HOME and change them.